Eighteen-year-old Shelby often talked with her father, a Texas police officer, about friends he lost in the line of duty.
She never imagined giving a eulogy at her father’s funeral, but tragically she found herself in this position after he was killed responding to a police call.
In her eulogy, she honored the life of her father, and she expressed deep compassion for the man who killed her father – praying for his salvation – and wait until you hear her greatest wish for the killer.
Shelby stated she didn’t hate the man who killed her father…
… and that most of all she wanted him to know Jesus Christ.
Christian Headlines reported:
“There has been anger, sadness, grief and confusion,” she said. “And part of me wishes that I could despise the man who did this to my father. But I can’t get any part of my heart to hate him.
All that I can find is myself hoping and praying for this man to truly know Jesus. … When I heard the news that he was in stable condition, part of me was relieved. My prayer is that someday down the road, I get to spend some time with the man who shot my father – not to scream [or] yell at him, not to scold him, [but] simply to tell him about Jesus.”
It is only by the grace of God this teen could want to confront the man who killed her father – not to shout angry words at him – but to tell him about Jesus.
Talk about living out one’s faith!
Shelby provides an amazing demonstration of radical forgiveness, and a convicting reminder for us all.
Is there someone in your past you need to forgive?
Pray that God will reveal the condition of your heart to you – including any unforgiveness or resentment the lingers within you.
If you are having a hard time forgiving someone who has wronged you, think about how God has forgiven you – for every careless thought and deed you have done.
As believers, since we are forgiven, we are commanded to forgive those who wound us – even if they never apologize for their words and/or actions.
We can all learn a lesson from 18-year-old Shelby.
Her worst nightmare came true – she lost her hero – her father – yet she still had a heart to pray the one who killed him, that he would come to know Christ.
In our lifetimes, God-willing, we will never face such dire circumstances that require such radical forgiveness.
But if we ever face similarly challenging situations, may we have the courage to live our faith – walk the Christian walk – and truly demonstrate what it means to forgive our enemies and those who persecute us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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